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Universal, Sony Cutting Prices on Downloaded Music

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the invisible-hand dept.

Music 446

Don Symes writes "Sony Music and Universal appear to be getting ready to allow downloads of singles for $.99 and albums for $9.99 without crippleware or restrictions on personal copying/burning." Another semi-interesting piece submitted by several people is this propaganda from the recording industry. 2.8 million copyright-infringing CD-R's were seized in the U.S. last year (9 million world-wide); from that the IFPI extrapolates that 950 million copyright-infringing CD-R's were actually sold, world-wide. How do you get from 9 million to 950 million? Mostly hand-waving .

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Islam (-1)

Klerck (213193) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689109)

Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives -- and his last one was a 9-year-old girl. And I will tell you Allah is not Jehovah either. Jehovah's not going to turn you into a terrorist that'll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people.

you sux0r klerck! (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689132)

Too much rain in NY this afternoon. =(

first posts want to be wide!! (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689170)

even though you are on my enemies list Klerck - it's not because I don't love you. I just like my pages a little narrower.

This is your last chance ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689225)

Information wants to be wide !
You migh say now: "Hello, woot, fuxx0r, %@/& !"
But someday all will be lost and there will be no wide information anymore, unless......
You sign this petition ! []

Stock Market (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689114)

NASDAQ traders are cutting price on Linux companies as well.

Downloaded Music Is Free (-1)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689115)

information wants to be free-as-in-st0len

Wow (-1, Redundant)

Pi Kapp 142 (582241) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689118)

I like how they pull numbers like 950 million out of their butts.

HA! (0, Flamebait)

sheepab (461960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689122)

Thats funny, Ive always gotten my MP3s for free, I thought thats what EVERYONE did? They cant compete with free, ever, PERIOD.

Re:HA! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689163)

Yuh huh, they can pay you to take the files.

Re:HA! (3, Insightful)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689206)

Everyone has their opinions. Who says it won't work? I've been getting my MP3s for free since I started downloading them on my 'BRAND NEW 14.4!' back in the day. BUT, if a company were to promise me good download speeds (40k/s would make me happy), high availability at any time, a HUGE selection covering all the genre's I like, then I'd happily pay $9.99 for a CD or a buck for a single song. In all reality, P2P programs annoy the bloody piss out of me. I can't stand their spyware, and their connectivty scheme tends to chow ALOT of bandwidth. IRC is quite a pain in the ass too. 700 people in one channel, you can't even go in there on dialup because the user list will cause loads of lag. So if a company could legitimately sell me a high quality MP3 for a buck, and I could find it easily in a search engine, and then download it right away with no queues, then I'd be a happy consumer again.

Re:HA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689320)

For you to have had a brand new 14.4 when mp3 became a commonly traded format, you would've had to of intentionally bought one hell of an old modem when 33.6's and USR's l33t propitary 56k was common. 90% of every isp at least supported 28.8, so, my friend, if you really did have a 'new' 14.4 when mp3 trading was most rampant, you are an idiot. Not that all of the CAPS you USE like an IDIOT didn't hint that off ALREADY. Thank you.

Re:HA! (2, Insightful)

mobets (101759) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689216)

I'd be happy to pay $0.99 for some songs. I think it is a reasonable price, leagal, and the artist just might get something out of it.

Re:HA! (2, Insightful)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689254)

Yes, but a legitimate purchase of good music by a band I like at a reasonable price sure beats steasling, copyright violation, and screwing over an artist whose music I like.

That sure competes well with "free" to me.

I'd download them! (5, Funny)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689128)

But the cable company set a lower bandwidth cap...

Re:I'd download them! (5, Insightful)

ReelOddeeo (115880) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689194)

I'd download them.... But the cable company set a lower bandwidth cap

Any reasonable cap shouldn't be a huge problem for downloading MP3's. MP3's are small compared to things that even "normal" users might download. I suppose it depenes on how many MP3's you plan to download, or upload to others. Or how many gnutella packets will pass through your system.

The bandwidth cap is more likely to prevent you from running:
  • Gnutella
  • An OpenNap server (but not client, depending on how much uploading you allow)
  • Other heavily traffic'd server

Re:I'd download them! (1, Offtopic)

XNormal (8617) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689296)

The cap is on the *uplink*. You can still download as much pr0n as you like...

Re:I'd download them! (1, Offtopic)

systemapex (118750) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689335)

For some of us the cap is on the download too. 5GB per month at that.

I'd pay for music (1, Funny)

LinuxCumShot (582742) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689138)

... no wait, i won't.

Re:I'd pay for music (0)

Spazholio (314843) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689345)

And herein lies the problem. I've read numerous times where people in this forum have railed against the RIAA, stating "If they made it cheap and downloadable, I'd buy it!" Well, unfortunately, Sony called our bluff. It's time to put up or shut up. Provided they offer digital music that isn't in some whacked proprietary format and ripped at a decent bitrate (196+), there's no reason not to do what you've been saying that you'd do.

I'm guilty of it too, and once I look into it a bit, I have no problem dropping $10 for a CD I like.

Re:I'd pay for music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689352)

Then you're lame. If you're going to use something that someone's selling, pay for it.

you damn open sores theives! (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689141)

you ruin it for the rest of us.

Price isn't low enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689142)

Seriously, you can download stuff for free. Who's going to pay $10 for lossy music copies? I rarely pay that much for actual CD's.

About time (2, Insightful)

darnellmc (524699) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689160)

About time they eased up on prices a bit, but that probably means they are getting over on us even worse than we all thought ;o) .

Regarding that CD-R article, I'm sure the RIAA would just love to ban the things. How about they just ban all dual-deck tape recorders too. Write you representatives folks. Don't let them lobby to take away all that is left of Fair-Use.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689234)

Still too expensive - I can go into best buy or circuit city and buy the full album for $13. Then rip to my heart's content. Prices have to be $5 or less for the full album in digital format.

Re:About time (2, Interesting)

Nick_Psyko (18708) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689274)

I have been waiting for single song prices, but I still can't understand why a record label can't give a shop a Pc with a writer and usb.
You walk in and either buy (per song) a cd compelation that you created (no shit songs on the album where evry other song is perfect) or upload them to your laptop/ipod from an arcade game style unit.
Cool that they are doing it online now, prolly better than the song idea anyway.

My bet is they'll secretly embed watermarks (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689165)

Yes, you heard correctly - secret watermarks. Want the music cheap? Sure, here you go. Of course, if you do trade it online, we'll get back to you on the number of times we find it on other computers and charge you full price plus treble damages. It's not as if we couldn't see through this business model by now...

Re:My bet is they'll secretly embed watermarks (5, Informative)

shunnicutt (561059) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689197)

You're right. From the article:

"The downloads contain watermarks that are designed to stay with any digital copies made of the song, enabling authorities to identify the original buyer."

But the point is they won't let the buyer know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689255)

I mean, the article says they'll embed watermarks, but unless someone specifically knows about this plan and even on which music, they don't know what they're buying. Sort of like those copy-protected CDs - the companies tell you they're going to do it, but you won't know until after you've bought it. The honey trap will be set for the unsuspecting flies...

America==Nazi Germany (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689169)

It's true []

Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689178)

And Just how is anyone suppose to make any money of the price slashing...might as well make them fr...oh wait minute they cannot go back on there descision can they? (sarcastic tone)

-"its not what is on the outside, its whats on the inside that counts"

i am a thief (1)

jms258 (569015) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689182)

i have not paid actual money for a cd in about a year now ... i will not pay for music until every major distributor of music is bankrupt. in most cases, 99 % of the money you pay for a cd doesn't go to the artist anyway, so let the CEOs starve.

$10 is just about right for an album... (5, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689183)

...Althought $5-$8 would be a lot better. Problem is, if I buy an album, I want 44.1khz PCM data, and not a compressed stream with a not-insignificant portion of the data missing.

If my $.99 bought me the raw stereo PCM data to burn, MP3, ogg, or sample then I would consider this reasonable.

Of course the artists probably get less than $.05 of that sale. The other .94 cents buys .05 of an ounce of cocaine to line the nostrils of a record exec.

Oddly... (3, Interesting)

HarryCaul (25943) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689244)

Ten bucks is roughly what a record store pays the distributor for a CD. The music industry is just cutting out the middleman and keeping their profit the same. Not a bad thing to try.

Re:Oddly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689262)

Especially if the cost of bandwidth/server are less than the cost of a physical cd + packaging and distribution.

Re:Oddly... (1)

mobets (101759) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689278)

In that case, the record stores need to start complaining about paying too much.

Then... (2)

jonfromspace (179394) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689341)

There is NO reason for a lower quality sound file (MP3, ogg, PCM, whatever). Give me a great quality copy, and I'll gladly give you my $0.99 per song.

Not bloody likely though...

Too little, too late... (1, Interesting)

Spazholio (314843) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689190)

Seems like Sony's managed to pull its head out of its ass only part of the way. As has been stated before, no one's gonna pay for what can be gotten for free. Now, if people want to find obscure stuff that isn't floating around on most P2P networks, and Sony can offer that, that might be an incentive. Maybe offer a sliding scale for the quality, ie: 128 would NOT cost the same as something encoded at 160+.

Never saw that coming! (1)

jon787 (512497) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689192)

We haven't won yet, but this could be the start of a massive change in the industry!

These files need to be CD quality (4, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689200)

not 128kbs, but at LEAST than 196kbs, otherwise it isnt worth the cash outflow...

personally if im going to pay for something I want a solid object in my mitts, a physical CD, liner notes, pictures, etc....

Re:These files need to be CD quality (0)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689347)

Right, but you'd be happy to take tracks for free at 128kbits without liner notes.

Seriously, having performed listening tests with the various codecs, it is unlikely that you will be able to tell the difference between 128kbits AAC (used in the Liquid format) and the original CD source. AAC is noticably higher quality than MP3 at the same bitrate.

Also, note that article says you can burn your own CD after you buy the tracks or album. This means that instead of going to the store and shelling out $14-$16 for a CD, you can download it for $10 and burn it yourself. I think this is a pretty good deal!

As usual, Michael doesn't think it through (3, Informative)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689201)

2.8 million copyright-infringing CD-R's were seized in the U.S. last year (9 million world-wide); from that the IFPI extrapolates that 950 million copyright-infringing CD-R's were actually sold, world-wide. How do you get from 9 million to 950 million? Mostly hand-waving.

I can only assume that Michael doesn't actually understand what the numbers he's quoting mean. Hard to believe, I know. 9 million == number actually seized. 950 million == estimate of how many actually produced and illegally sold.

Obviously it's difficult to have hard numbers about what CDs were NOT seized, but who thinks that it's unreasonable to claim that only 1 out of every 100 illegally produced CDs sold are actually found and confiscated?

In fact, it surprises be that it's as high as 1/100.

The upside for the labels: (5, Funny)

CaseyB (1105) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689203)

The one advantage of having lower $0.99 "per track" charges, is that once the artists' royalty percentage is rounded, it equals zero.

no copy restrictions? (1)

voya (582627) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689209)

if no copy restrictions exist for downloaded music then what is to prevent a user from sharing newly downloaded songs with friends?

one person would pay to download, and everybody else would get it off him for free.

doesnt work.

Re:no copy restrictions? (1)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689266)

Hrm, If I was paying for MP3s, I wouldn't be sharing. Everyone seems to think they _DESERVE_ everything for free. Screw them, if I pay a buck for a song, its mine mine mine.

Re:no copy restrictions? (1)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689300)

It does if you have any friends with any morality at all. I don't understand how stealing and bilking your favorite artist out of compensation for their work became so acceptable.

If I listened to an mp3 a friend downloaded and liked it a lot, I'd go download it myself. Just like I do when I borrow a CD I like from a friend.

Re:no copy restrictions? (2)

LinuxHam (52232) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689371)

one person would pay to download, and everybody else would get it off him for free.

Weren't we just discussing this yesterday?

How about this: the article said that Liquid Audio usually produces encrypted, watermarked files, but that their format won't be used in the end. If their server alters each download by just one bit somewhere in the body of the file, something that no audiophile would notice, that would completely change the MD5 sum. If they let us download WAVs or 320k MP3s, a split second of dead audio at the end of the track would provide for millions of unique MD5 sums usable as serial #'s.

Store the MD5 sum with the paying customer, and look for it to appear in the wild. Voila, a non-copy protected MP3 that can be uniquely traced to the person or persons who purchase and redistribute music. Would you use some kind of editor to tweak bits in an MP3 file before you redistributed it just to make sure that the MD5 sum has changed?

Re:no copy restrictions? (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689374)

one person would pay to download, and everybody else would get it off him for free.

That would be wrong. I for one don't want to take money from the recording executives, who spend most of their days stealing money from the artists who actually make the music.

Oh, please... (2, Interesting)

Justen (517232) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689210)

The recording industry just wants someone to blame poor management on. The truth is that with Napster gone, it makes their job more difficult: they can't now pin it on just one company. It was easy to just sue Napster... Now they have to go after end-users, or find some way to tighten their bandwidth access.

Look at the ridiculous deals they signed just before the economy slowed here in the United States... The Mariah Carey deal, which failed. The Michael Jackson "biggest album ever" which sold about ten copies.

It's easy for the CEOs of these companies to place blame somewhere else, besides themselves. And the Boards and shareholders have so far wagged their tails, nodded their heads, and watched their portfolios halve in value.

They'll wake up... Someday... Maybe...


w00t! (2)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689211)

Hopefully Amazon, Best Buy, or the other "resellers" make a good website to sell the things, maybe have 30second intro mp3s so you can "try before you buy" and what not. Hopefully they will make it easy to find the songs you want too. Current file sharing services don't do that for me. I'll pay $.99/song to get that.

Sony bets alot of other people will too. I'd wager they'll bet that I'd pay $5 extra to have them burn me a cd or two and ship them to me too or other "added features" (music videos anyone? tour footage anyone? live tracks anyone?)

Good Grief (2, Insightful)

Fished (574624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689213)

This is ridiculous. From the ifpi article:
Second, piracy nurtures organised crime. Very often the money that is paid for pirate CDs will be channelled into the drugs trade, money laundering or other forms of serious organised criminal activity.
Let's think this through for a second... why does organized crime import drugs? BECAUSE THEY CAN MAKE A LOT OF MONEY AT IT. They don't need to seel pirated software to make money, they are already making money selling drugs. How on earth could you argue that pirated CD's would pay for furthering the drug trade? I mean, is IFPI seriously proposing that there is some kind of global conspiracy trying to addict our citizens to drugs at their own expense?

And ... isn't money laundering something that makes money on its own too? In fact, the only relationship between money laundering and CD IP theft seems to be that, if there were no copyright, there would be no need to launder the money made.

In fact, wouldn't the best way to cut off the legs of organized crime in this area be legalization, or, heaven forfend, reasonable prices from the recording industry?

If these are the best arguments against piracy, I think I'll go steal some music now.

This will prove it (4, Insightful)

Wind_Walker (83965) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689218)

This is what the pro-Napster (read: pro-piracy) crowd has been shouting about for as long as I can remember. "Make music available for a low price ($1 per song) and we'll buy it! We don't want to rip them off, but we're sick of paying $16 for a CD!!!"

And do you know what? This will flop. Terribly. Why? Because the same people who have been shouting that they'll pay for music will, in the end, not pay for music.

Once, a few years ago, I pirated music using Napster. I got quite good at it, amassing more than 5 GB of songs. But eventually, I had to face the facts: I was stealing music. A few of my friends asked me to justify what I was doing, and I couldn't justify it. I was stealing music. I thought about "making up", by buying all the CDs that I wanted music from, but I didn't. And do you know why? Because it would cost money.

I know it's not hip to agree with the RIAA on Slashdot, but in this case I feel that it's correct to. The pirate community has been screaming that they want low-price music, and now they're offering it to them. But it will flop, because in the end, people don't want cheap music.

They want free music.

Stealing? Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689272)

What you describe is copying, not stealing.

Re:Stealing? Nope. (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689329)

What you describe is copying, not stealing.
It's stealing too. You don't have to deprive someone of something to be guilty of stealing. All you have to do is take something you're not entitled to. Piracy is copying, but it's also a kind of theft.

Re:Stealing? Nope. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689356)

It is copyright infringement, not theft. There's a significant difference.

Re:Stealing? Nope. (1)

ferat (971) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689360)

In the grand scheme of things, downloading an MP3 is no worse than going to someplace like music-go-round and buying a used album.

Either way the industry/artists don't get your money. Does that make you a thief?

Re:This will prove it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689298)

This will fail because it's too expensive still. I will buy music online when it is 10 cents per track or $1.00 per cd. I can buy a full cd for about $13 at my local large electronics retail store. It's not worth saving $3 to not get the hard copy of the disc with liner notes and all.

Re:This will prove it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689323)

Copyright infringement is not theft, nice troll.

Re:This will prove it (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689327)

"Make music available for a low price ($1 per song) and we'll buy it! We don't want to rip them off, but we're sick of paying $16 for a CD!!!"

You know, at an average of perhaps 12 tracks per CD (maybe slightly higher, I haven't bought any of the so-called "popular" music in a while, and the CDs I do buy actually tend to average around 14-16 tracks per CD), that makes the per-song price of a CD not much more than $1.00. The only advantage of getting the single songs is that you don't end up paying for songs you don't want. That's a shame, though, because it's been my experience that when you get sick of the over-played radio songs on a CD, and assuming the artist is any good, you'll usually find a few gems among the other tracks as well.

Re:This will prove it (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689334)

do you think a group of theiving, raving pedophiles like the slashbots will care that it is 'wrong' to steal music?

Re:This will prove it (1)

Razor Sex (561796) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689348)

Sadly, I have to agree. I said the same thing, that when it costs 10 bucks I'll buy it. But I probably won't, not in most cases. Kazaa is free. You can't beat free. Fuck. But I do plan to buy some Dimmu Borgir and Children of Bodom, which is what I listen to most. So I can at least have some inner consolation.

Paying for Music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689219)

The one piece of this puzzle that is missing is the webpage. Rather than retail singles on CD's through other companies, Sony should just set up a website, allow us to type in our CC number, and start grabbing what we want at a dollar a pop.

I'd be more than happy to legitimize my music collection, as I currently own all legitimate software. I will not pay, however, $16 per CD to legitimize the one or two songs I want from each CD.

If they provided formats I like: 320,160, and 128kbps and I could download one of each quality, I'd do it. Preferably MP3 and/or ogg. Ooh, and a pcm wav format also.

Hope they come around just a little more.


Merely ten bucks? (1)

EvilBuu (145749) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689223)

Didn't we just have a story about how some company showed it could be profitable to sell audio cds essentially at cost (plus $X.XX shipping and handling)? It's great that music companies are getting into the swing of things by offering albums online at reduced prices (no jewel case, cover art, etc...), however $9.99 still seems too high for what you're getting. Maybe if real cds were ten bucks and the online version was, say, six I'd bite. For now I'll stick to the surprisingly varied and good used bins.

Not yet (1)

KingKire64 (321470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689226)

If we are able to get a whole albumn for 10$ then that doesnt seam like a price break. You are paying 10$ for a lower quality version of a 20$ higher quality product. They are just scaling price for quality.

Re: Numbers (2)

gouldtj (21635) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689227)

How do you get from 9 million to 950 million?

You multiply by roughly 100. :)

Re: Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689307)

105.55... actually

I discovered this amazing by using this thing call a... um.. oh yeah! A "calculator". I'm so brilliant!

Don't knock handwaving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689235)

It got me my Ph.D.!

This excites me... (2)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689236)

Particularly because Sony is onboard, which owns Sony Classical. One thing that is REALLY weak on P2P networks is a good classical selection, and what's there is often badly converted and missing the ending sections.

I will definitely be using the service.

Re:This excites me... (2)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689342)

Amen. And if that $0.99 per track means I can download (say) CSO/Solti Beethoven's 9th for $3.96, then I'll gladly pay. :) On a more serious note, it will be tons easier to get all the works from my favorite composers / conductors / performers this way, than by going through online services looking for the recordings I want.

Another thing that I'm really, really hoping for, is that smaller labels like Alternative Tentacles and Wrong Records will get in on the act. That'll scare the living unholy crap out of Tipper Gore and her gang.

I'm still pissed at RIAA for using DMCA instead of copyright laws to pursue music pirates, but this might win back my patronage.

Huzzah! (1)

freerangegeek (451133) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689239)

If I can get a reliable, accurate, high quality download of a track I want for $0.99 and have the ability to freely burn and copy it to my MP3 player, then I'm more than willing to spend the money. I can avoid Kazaa's virus ware, I can avoid bogus badly ripped versions, and I can get the tracks of any album I want. For 9.99 and a 50 cent CD, I can burn my own copy of the album minus liner notes/cover.

My suggestion to the biz, be smart, make the cover/liner notes available as a PDF file. And provide multiple remixes of the tracks to suit various tastes.

Are the prices for blanks really decreasing (1)

sealawyer (473327) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689241)

It seems like only last summer there were predictions of large increases in cdr prices. It's also true that Canada recently increased the levy on blank cdrs.

Further at least a few manufacturers have stopped making disks at all. I would expect that to put upward pressure on prices.

My own experience is that blanks cost slightly more this year than last. But then I'm not buying thousands of disks at a time.

Too little, too late (1)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689243)

That might have saved their butts two years ago, but now it's too little too late. They have made too many enemies.

Record Company Board Meeting: (3, Funny)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689247)

"Here's an idea: Maybe if we give them something they actually want, they'll pay us for it."

" think so? Well, let's give it a shot. Can't be any worse than that MiniDisc fiasco."

singles? (2)

gol64738 (225528) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689252)

this is exactly what i've been waiting for...
99 cents is easily worth the price of a song, as long as the quality is decent.
and hey! i can feel good about having a 'legal' collection of mp3's!

i can't wait until cable television takes this approach. i would love to pay per channel rather than having a whole slew of junk that seems to grab my attention.. let's see, discovery, comedy central, learning channel....

950 Million?!? (4, Insightful)

quantaman (517394) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689256)

Okay I don't know how big this industry might be but 950 million sounds a little high seeing as how there are only 6 billion people on the planet.

That might however work if this is corrcet
The IFPI said this means that almost 40 percent of all CDs and cassettes sold around the globe are pirated copies--the highest proportion ever recorded by the organization.

However I suspect that the vast majority of those were from Russia, China, and other countries who generally arn't too respectful of US copyright law and arn't directly effected by the DMCA.

However, declining prices kept the total value of the unauthorized CD market nearly flat, at an estimated $4.3 billion worldwide in 2001 compared with $4.2 billion the previous year. Because those numbers use the prices for pirated discs and not legal prices, they do not measure the full economic loss to recording industry, the IFPI said

I'm I the only one who see the contradiction. If you sell something at a lower price you often sell enough units to make up the difference, your profit is what might be lower. Iraq learned a varient of this lesson the hard way when they flooded the oil market (although I'm not sure if they have lower revenues total or just lower profits). If people never got pirated music and only bought the inflated distributor prices I suspect the difference in their total revenues would be a lot less than 4.3 billion, not greater.

950 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689259)

950 million is a very impressive amount. More than that it becomes 1 billion which is less impressive because the average american uses million and billion interchangeably. Obviously the number was cleverly thought out.

Well then... (1)

Smelly Jeffrey (583520) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689260)

They put Naposter out of business because it was infringing on copyrights, and now they're selling what Napster was giving away? That sounds like more of an infringment to me. It's not illegal to listen to the radio for free, but who would pay to listen? It doesn't make any sense to me. If they sell mp3's then why can't we give them away? Where will the money be going in the first place? Probably to the big-shots at the record companies that are doing all the anti-Napster and such. Yeah that's what I want to do, buy what is already free.

This seems like one more step toward the abolishment of copyright laws altogether.

Perhaps we all ought to sit down with a pen and paper and write our congressperson.

I might buy them... (2)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689263)

As soon as the record companies stop screwing artists who don't produce platinum albums with horrendous royalty rates and keeping ten times what the artists get...

Where's the Cover Art, CD Case and CD cost? (2, Troll)

dlur (518696) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689268)

I think it's great these companies are starting to get a clue, but for $9.99 for an album I can go to my local used CD store and get the actual CD with cover art and a jewel case. Heck sometimes if you time it right with online storefronts or heading to your local music megastore you can get the CD brand new for $10.

Sure I can go out on the net, download the cover art, print it out, and put it in my own jewel case. By the time I do that I'm over $10 for that CD which is more than I'd have paid for it in the store anyways, not to mention the work I did.

Most likely I'd rip the actual CD to MP3 anyways so I can play it on my home computer network (computer in every room with decent speakers), but I still like to look at all the cover art, read the lyrics, and enjoy the little extra effort that some bands put into the making of their CD inserts.

I still just don't see how $.99 per single or $9.99 is cost effective for Joe Consumer. It needs to drop down further to perhaps $.50 per single and around $5 for a full album download before I'd bother with it.

Re:Where's the Cover Art, CD Case and CD cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689377)

What a fucking bunch of liars and crybabies. First you said "Albums cost too much, and I really only want one or two songs off of it. That's why I use Napster." Now that the cost is lower and you can only purchase the songs you want, you claim the price is still too high and insist that .99 per single is not cost effective.

Why not just be honest with yourself and the rest of us. You are a lowlife scum thief who sees an opportunity to steal with very little chance of getting caught or punished. You are the same class of people that use a riot as an excuse to smash a store window and steal whatever you can grab. And since you will never produce anything that anyone else would be willing to pay you for, you don't think anyone should be paid for their labors.

Seems like a good idea (1)

mookie-blaylock (522933) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689275)

I can't remember how many times I've just wanted a particular song and didn't want to waste $15 on some album I know I wouldn't like. If the bitrate is there (192k min, please), I'm sure they'll get some of my business.

However, I'd love to see a general drop in CD prices. At least it seems like they may be getting a bit of a clue, even if it's awfully late in the game.

A good start... (2, Interesting)

NewbieV (568310) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689280)

At about $20 US for a CD with 20 tracks on it, filled with the music I choose to listen to, in a custom mix that fits my preferences, yeah, I could live with that.

My biggest pet peeve with downloading MP3s now (and yes, I do) is that too much is left up to an unknown source: who ripped the original CD? Did they tag it accurately?

It sounds like this is a good start for the record companies and music lovers to find a little common ground... as long as the cable companies don't cap us to death...

I didn't see it in the article, but... does the actual artist get a royalty on the download?

I don't buy music... (1)

RoadWarriorX (522317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689285)

ever since I started to see local bands, musicians, and orchestras. Some of these guys have real talent. I would support them anyday by purchasing their CD, if they even had one. Some of them even offer their music in Mp3 and Ogg. Most of them do not even care if you copy them and sent it to your friends. To them, it's the exposure that makes them happy, so they can drive up demand and popularity, and they can get booked for local concerts. That's what real music is!

lossless compression (2, Interesting)

foonf (447461) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689299)

If these were in a high-quality lossless format it would quite likely be worth it. But mp3 -- yeah it sounds okay, but its not worth paying for.

This only leads to questions (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689302)

First, what bitrate will the songs come in? Ostensibly they'll come in mp3 format, if they're not going to be protected in some way. If it's 128kbps, forget it; I don't typically even warez music at 128kbps any more, and I certainly won't pay for that (lack of) quality.

Second; If, as the article asserts, the discounting of downloadable music is a recognization that a downloaded track somehow has less value than a physical CD, I have to ask what the prices are based on. As we all know, the price of audio CDs is based on what the market will bear; it is cheaper to make a CD and put it in a store than it is to make a casette tape and put it in a store, yet they still cost more. Obviously this is based on recognition of the fact that the online market won't bear as much profit and the music industry is only going in this direction because they know that the artificially-inflated prices of CDs won't last forever when more and more people are getting CD-R drives.

So where's the question in all this? It is thus: Whence comes the artificial valuation of music? And what is its future? Sony would seem to be its own enemy, in that it sells relatively inexpensive CD-R(W) drives (and overly expensive CDR media) and also sells music on CD which carries a seemingly arbitrary price tag which the music industry nontheless has been known to defend with financial violence, IE, they don't give new releases to stores which have dropped prices below their mandated floor. What effect do they really think selling albums for $9.99 which you are allowed to burn to a $0.40 CD? (again, more if it's sony; This is a price on memorex 100 spindles at fry's.)

Not MP3 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689362)

Liquid Audio.

How do you get from 9 million to 950 million? (2)

SkyLeach (188871) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689305)

First you assume that the 9 million CDs would and could be sold...

Second, you take the number of people in the US who listen to that genre of music, and assume that every single one of them bought that music illegally.

Third, you assume that everybody is a crook.

Fourth, you realize that you really like your job in the FBI, because that makes you "they" and them "those" and you can make "them" do whatever "we" want.

Simple administrative math. If you have problems understanding it, go talk to your System Admin... they all have the same basic course requirements.

Still expensive... (3)

T3kno (51315) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689309)

This is $0.99 more that I am ever willing to pay a record company for a song. I would gladly give the artist the money, but never the record company. Back to good ole lopster and sending donations directly to artists.

CD-R's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689311)

Im sure most of the 950 million comes from how many blank CD-R's were produced and sold in conjunction with the confiscated priated copies.

I burn CDs all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689312)

It's one of my two forms of social protest, that and underage drinking.

Do the math (1)

DotComVictim (454236) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689314)

There were 1 billion CD-Rs sold last year. Logically, all but 50 million are being used for piracy.

$.99 is still too much (5, Interesting)

Ephro (90347) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689315)

The music industry is still trying to cover their own ass. They know they are going to lose this fight, so if they push everyone else out of the business first they can take it over like they have every other avenue.

Supporting them now is like caving to the first offer to a street vendor in Thailand.

I am bias and not afraid to admit it, we offer MP3s for $.10 - $.20 that are encoded at 128bit to 192bit. That's good enough to burn.

CD Cost: ~$1.50USD

MusicRebellion []

Re:$.99 is still too much (3, Funny)

Ephro (90347) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689336)

Sorry second line should be:

Supporting them now is like caving to the first offer from a street vendor in Thailand.

what a deal (if deal=scam) (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689322)

Gee, we can download an album in a "liquid audio" format (which, while they claim be better than MP3 I still have to assume is a lossy format) and burn it to our own media for $9.99, this while Sony gets less than $9.99 for albums they sell through retail outlets, and I can often find sales when any single album is $9.99. I'll opt for buying during these sales, where I get the full jewel case and printed materials and a CD that's isn't prone to self-destruct in a hot car, or stick with more "traditional" approaches.

By the way, about 2 years ago there were stories all over the news that the major labels had settled with the FTC over a suite it files against them of unfair marketing practices that were driving up the price of CD's. The claim was that as a result of the settlement we would see CD prices come down. Just the opposite has occurred, CD prices are higher now than they were at the time of the announced settlement. What isn't this getting any attention?

It's called emusic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689324)

9.95 a month, all the downloads you can handle.

you can't have everything (1, Insightful)

direwolf puppy (243414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689325)

I was just reading through the posts here and noticed a lot that read "well, I'm not going to do this, because the artist would only get $.05 of that $.99, so forget paying for these songs, I'll just go download them" or "MP3 is lossy, so I'm not going to pay an entire dollar for these tracks".

People, this is what we have all been screaming restrictions on downloads and a fair price for the songs themselves, instead of $18-$20 for a CD that contains 2 decent songs and 12 crappy ones. If we don't take some kind of action and show these studios that consumers are willing to pay for decent service, that service is going to disintegrate and leave us with a lot of bad laws in its place. You have to crawl before you walk, and especially for a first offering, I don't think the details of this look bad at all. Please at the very least consider paying a couple of bucks the next time you get the urge to grab some music.

(Note: for all you people actively boycotting the RIAA for their other stunts/attacks, this post was not meant for you, but rather people who simply don't want to pay for MP3's)

Not crippled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3689328)

hahaha that's a good one. It's Liquid Audio, so watermarked and incompatible with iPods etc. So, um, fuck that. They still don't get it, do they?

Slashdot / MP3 Comment Generator (5, Funny)

Geeyzus (99967) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689330)

Let me save you the time of reading all the hypocritical comments, just read this one.

"This is a great start, but I'm not paying [current price] for a song/album. Maybe I'd consider [current price / 2], but it would have to be available in [some other format] and at [current sampling rate * 2]. And even then, I wouldn't pay without getting [a CD / liner notes / etc]."

99 cents a song is a steal. Let's figure there are 3 good songs on a CD nowadays (generous assumption). That's 3 bucks for a CD's worth of good songs. As opposed to 15+ dollars in the store.

But I'm sure people can justify not using this service anyway. Hell, I will admit that if I want some song, I'll probably get it off of KaZaA (I don't really listen to much music nowadays). But I'm not gonna criticize the system, I think it is perfect, they are biting the bullet and offering us a great alternative to stealing music. If this fails, it's not the record company's fault.


They just don't get it.... (4, Insightful)

MikeD83 (529104) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689344)

The music files will be avaliable in Liquid Audio format.

"Liquid Audio files are scrambled so they can't be freely copied from computer to computer. But Universal has decided to let buyers burn the files onto conventional CDs in unscrambled formats, meaning they could be copied or moved freely from that point."

People wants MP3s. We have MP3 walkmans, players, car stereos, stereo components. We don't want a crippled version of song no matter the price.

Universal- will allow buring to CDs with you can then rip into MP3 format.
Sony- will not be allowing any burning

Reasons (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689349)

They need to stop their decreasing sales.

They don't want to invest more money in signing new bands and creating new music. So naturally they'll try to appease the masses and get the semi-legit folks that have downloaded illegally, to pay for their music at the rate most people have been saying they'd pay for music.

If that doesn't catch enough fish in the net, then they'll lower the price further, or have discounts, or anything that will get a majority of people to actually pay something for the music they probably already have gotten for free.

Then they'll switch to the standard tactics of screwing over everybody once they've gotten us back in the mindset that we need to pay for this stuff.

It's the format, stupid (5, Insightful)

fahrvergnugen (228539) | more than 12 years ago | (#3689370)

It's regrettable, because this is a step in the right direction, but this won't fly.

The article mentions that the tracks discussed by Universal are to be in Liquid Audio format.

(More about them is available here [] )

Closed-format music that I can't play in non-Windows operating systems or in a dvd or car cd deck that can decode mp3 CD's doesn't interest me in the slightest. MP3 succeeds because it's portable and small. Liquid audio files may not be very large, but they're not portable at all (except to Rio players).

By the time I've converted to CD and then ripped to mp3 again, I've spent way more than $1 worth of time, and I'm inclined to just go get an mp3 rip of the song and have done with it.

Sorry guys, try again. They're halfway there, but it's got to be MP3, or bust. The really depressing part of all this is that when this fails, it will fail because the dirty thieves on the internet want something for nothing, not because they tied themselves to a wrongheaded proprietary format that nobody asked for and nobody needs.

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